BA (Hons) English

Combine your love of English language and literature, and develop a range of professional skills with this highly flexible English degree. Bringing together the study of literature from the Renaissance to the present day with the study of language in social and cultural contexts, you’ll gain specialist skills in analysis, close reading and writing.

Your English degree will also develop transferable skills that can be adapted in many ways, ensuring you’ll be prepared to succeed in many careers that need good, thoughtful communicators.

USW's English degree also offers the option to study TESOL (Teaching English to Speakers of other Languages) modules, where you can learn specific skills in teaching English, a field where many English graduates gain employment.

There is a lively culture of writing at the University of South Wales: your lecturers are leading researchers and writers in various forms, and we have many visiting poets, bloggers and novelists. Specialist areas at USW include Gothic, Celtic literature and myth and narrative. The anthology of student writing, DAPS, is produced entirely by students.

2021/22 update: Blended learning approach for USW courses.

[Update excludes online-only courses].

The wellbeing and health and safety of our students and staff is paramount to us. We are committed to delivering all of our courses and services as safely as possible. Due to the pandemic, the methods and activities adopted for the coming year may differ from those previously published and may be subject to further change through the course of your study if such change is necessary due to public health concerns, health and safety guidance or in response to Government Guidelines. USW is committed to providing you with a fantastic student experience and a wealth of support, and you can hear how students have benefitted from this approach here: Learn more about blended learning.

UCAS Code Study Mode
Duration Start Date Campus Campus Code
Q301 Full-time 3 Years September Treforest A
UCAS Code Study Mode
Duration Start Date Campus Campus Code
Q301 Full-time 3 Years September Treforest A

First year literature study on this English degree includes Shakespeare, fiction and poetry, with options such as women’s writing. Language study includes a module on Language and Society, with options in TESOL that cover grammar, lexis and phonology.

Year two modules range from English Renaissance through 19th century literature to Modernism, complemented by a module on Language, Power and Ideology. There are options on the American Dream and TESOL, including Observation and Peer Teaching Practice.

In your final year, you can follow a personal interest in literature or language by writing a dissertation on your choice of topic. You will also choose from a range of other literature and language options, including Gothic literature, Celtic literature, and Communication and the Workplace, alongside TESOL options that include actual teaching practice. 

Year One: English Degree

  • Reading/Writing Women
    If you’ve ever wondered why so few women writers have featured on school and university syllabi or in poetry anthologies this is the module for you. This is a chance to read and discuss some fascinating texts by women writers and to think about the relationship between gender and literature.

  • Shakespeare
  • Thinking With Texts
  • Language and Society

  • Language Awareness Grammar (TESOL) 
    Knowledge about grammar is essential for teaching English to speakers of other languages. This module teaches you the metalanguage of your native tongue.

Optional modules:

  • Reading Poetry

  • Language Awareness 
    This module explores the wonders of words and sounds. It enables students to develop an appreciation for the ways in which English works, and to develop expertise in how the sounds we make convey meaning to the listener.

Year Two: English Degree

  • Modernism
    Early twentieth-century writers aimed to ‘Make it New’ through challenging experiments with narrative and language. This module looks at how new ideas about identity, sexuality, gender and war were reflected in innovative texts like The Waste Land, Mrs Dalloway and Women in Love as well as poetry and short stories.

  • Nineteenth Century Literature
    During the nineteenth century the UK altered beyond recognition, transforming itself from a rural to an urban society and from an agricultural to an industrial economy. The period saw the publication of some of the most celebrated novels in the English language: novels by Austen, the Brontës, Gaskell, Dickens and Wilde among others. Great poets of the time included Wordsworth, Barrett-Browning, Tennyson, Browning, and Rossetti.

  • English Renaissance Literature
    The first great age of experimentation in English Literature, the period transformed a little-spoken northern-European dialect into a rich, versatile language; by its close, some of the most influential works ever written had been produced in English. The literary innovators of the period brought us the first English versions of: epic, sonnet, lyric, tragedy, comedy, utopia, prose fiction, and even the first attempt to create a dictionary of the language.

  • Language, Power and Ideology

Optional modules:

  • The American Dream

  • Introduction to TESOL
    Ever thought about all the different options a teacher has when they organise a class? In this module you will explore a variety of ways to set up and manage a classroom full of people, eager to learn a new language. We learn about the importance of communicative activities in language teaching and explore ways to help learners of English understand its structures and complexities.

  • Observation and Peer teaching Practice (TESOL)
    Learn how music, social media and games can be incorporated within different teaching methodologies to ensure lessons are engaging and interesting. In this module, you undertake lesson planning, material design, lesson delivery and reflection with your peers. It acts as preparation for teaching real learners of English.

  • Reflection on Learning in the Workplace

Year Three: English Degree

  • Dissertation

  • Gothic Literature
    Ghosts, demons, vampires or werewolves: each generation reinvents the monstrous figures which haunt its nightmares. This module looks at how writers such as Ann Radcliffe, Mary Shelley, Bram Stoker and Angela Carter have used Gothic conventions to reflect, refract and interrogate contemporaneous anxieties around sexuality, class, gender and identity.

  • Celtic Literature

Optional modules:

  • Myth and Narrative
    Beginning with The Epic of Gilgamesh – the oldest complete work of literature in existence – ‘Myth and Narrative’ explores a selection of ancient texts in translation: Genesis and Job (biblical texts), The Odyssey and The Mabinogion. It includes, too, an overview of Egyptian and Norse mythologies, consideration of the transition from myth to Romance in the medieval period, and theoretical approaches to the interpretation of mythic forms in the modern age.

  • Historical Fictions
    Women writing the past – What does our fascination with the Tudors, the Victorians, or the First World War say about us today? This module explores the complex tension between past and present in historical fictions by writers such as Virginia Woolf, Daphne du Maurier, Pat Barker. Philippa Gregory and Sarah Waters.

  • Communication and the Workplace

  • Developing the TESOL Professional
    This module looks at how languages are learned; How language learners are assessed and the importance individual learner differences. You will work one-to-one with an International learner and produce and present a case study detailing the individual’s learning journey.

  • Teaching Experience (TESOL)
    In this module, you will employ the TESOL knowledge you have studied and apply it to live teaching with learners within our award-winning teaching practice programme. This module gives you the opportunity to graduate with a USW TESOL certificate, which enables you to gain global teaching employment. We currently have graduates teaching in over 20 countries around the world.

*Please note optional modules are subject to availability and may vary from year to year

Foundation Year

The BA (Hons) English is also available as a four year course including an integrated foundation year, and is designed for students who do not currently meet admissions criteria for direct entry onto the English degree. You will start by completing a foundation year, which provides well structured support, allowing you to develop your skills and knowledge before continuing onto the three year degree programme. See more about BA (Hons) English (including Foundation Year).


Subject to revalidation from 2020
This course is subject to revalidation, this means it is under review as part of the University’s standard quality assurance and enhancement processes. Course and module content is indicative and may change through the revalidation process. As soon as the course is revalidated, the details will be confirmed and published on the University website.
In the unlikely event the course does not go ahead as planned, or is significantly amended, we will write to inform you. If this happens, we’ll help you to find a suitable alternative course either at USW or at another provider.


You will learn through lectures and seminars, and actively participate in learning through individual study, and written and oral presentations. You will also gain experience in group work and workshops.

If you choose to take TESOL modules as part of your English degree programme, you will develop your practical skills through plenty of hands-on teaching experience and classroom observation of your peers and qualified practitioners.

In addition to these contact hours you will be expected to undertake a substantial amount of private study. You will also be able to engage with a lively research culture of regular visiting speakers and guest lectures.

Experienced writers, academics, research students and alumni will present readings and seminars throughout the English course. You will also benefit from our English Research.


Coursework will take the form of essays, critical exercises, portfolios, and oral presentations. TESOL modules are assessed through a variety of methods, including in-class tests, projects, case studies, reports, observed teaching practice sessions, and portfolios.

A number of TESOL students have developed their practical skills through teaching English in the UK and overseas during the summer vacation.

Creative writing modules are assessed by coursework, and other modules by coursework and/or exams.


You can choose a work placement as an important part of your English course. Designed to enhance your employability, this is a great way to make your CV stand out. There’s a wide range of things you could do. Students have worked at the Riverfront Theatre and Arts Centre, Wales Arts Review, Literature Wales, Seren Press, Buzz Magazine, The Big Issue, Able Radio, schools and libraries. Some students have worked on scripts in community film projects, for example, and even with the National Theatre.

The University also has excellent links with universities overseas and you may have the opportunity to spend an academic year abroad as part of your English degree.

We offer an exciting range of destinations from Europe to as far afield as the USA or even Australia. The experience of living and studying in another country could change your whole outlook on life and boost your attractiveness to potential employers.


Featured Lecturer:
Professor Kevin Mills

Professor Kevin Mills

Professor Kevin Mills is a literary critic and poet. He has published work on theoretical and philosophical issues in interpretation, Victorian literature, and individual authors such as HG Wells, Arthur Conan Doyle, and Roald Dahl. His scholarly writing often blends creative and critical modes, exploiting the resources and confronting the limits of both. His poetry typically interweaves ancient texts and stories with contemporary experience, and explores relationships between language, the self, place, and time. He teaches Nineteenth-Century Literature, English Renaissance Literature, and Myth and Narrative at undergraduate level, and leads the MPhil in Writing. Listen to Professor Mills reading Larktown Suite: Poems of the Pandemic.


Dr Ayo Amuda's primary research interest is on language use in society, particularly, communication in multilingual communities. He is the author of several articles on the subject, including Socio-Historiography of Names in an Oral Culture (2012).

Dr Mike Chick's research interests include second language teacher education as well as the organisation of ESOL provision for vulnerable sections of society. He has recently completed a research project investigating the barriers to employment faced by participants on the Syrian Vulnerable Persons Resettlement Scheme.

Dr Nic Dunlop is a specialist in postcolonial writing, genre and contemporary literature. He has published widely and is currently completing a monograph on representations of education and postcolonialism in science fiction.

Professor Alice Entwistle specialises in poetry, usually contemporary, and often (though not always) by women. Much of her work examines the connections between text, form and place(s); she is also interested in creative-critical writing and cross-disciplinary collaborative practice in the arts and humanities.

Barrie Llewelyn teaches fiction, poetry and non-fiction with a special interest in writing for the media and the essay form. She is also interested in the often fluid line between fiction and non-fiction. Recent research interests have taken Barrie’s focus to the link between creativity and well-being. The Speak to Me project partners resettled refugees with local English speakers in a series of creative writing workshops.

Professor Kevin Mills teaches Nineteenth-Century Literature, English Renaissance Literature, and Myth and Narrative. He also leads the MPhil in Writing. His research interests include theory, literature and the Bible, and Victorian literature, as well as the relationship between critical and creative writing.

Dr David Towsey is a novelist and short-story writer, who specialises in genre fiction. He is particularly interested in crossover texts that complicate genre boundaries. His Walkin' Trilogy of novels blends numerous tropes from zombie horror, post-apocalyptic science fiction, and the western. He also co-writes fantasy-crime under the pseudonym D.K. Fields, whose Tales of Fenest trilogy considers the impact of storytelling in the democratic process. 

Professor Diana Wallace works mainly on women’s writing. Her research interests include historical fiction, the Gothic, Modernism, and Welsh writing in English. She is co-editor of The International Journal of Welsh Writing in English and co-editor of UWP’s series Gender in Studies in Wales.

Dr Rhian Webb lectures in Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages (TESOL). Her primary research examines native English speakers’ knowledge about grammar, which informs her teaching. In 2020, she established a research collaboration with Cardiff based Peartree Languages, which develops strategies to teach and deliver online English lessons to international learners.

Find out more about our English research and publications.

The entry criteria below shows the qualification range within which the University will make offers. Most offers we make are at the top of the range, but we take all aspects of an application into consideration and applicants receive a personalised offer. Combinations of qualifications are acceptable and other qualifications not listed here may also be acceptable.

Typical A-Level Offer

BCC - CDD to usually include English (this is equivalent to 104-80 UCAS tariff points). Applicants without A Level English will be considered on an individual basis.

Typical Welsh BACC Offer

Pass the Advanced Welsh Baccalaureate Diploma with Grade C/D in the Skills Challenge Certificate and BC - CD at A Level to include English (this is equivalent to 104-80 UCAS tariff points). Applicants without A Level English will be considered on an individual basis.

Typical BTEC Offer

BTEC Extended Diploma Distinction Merit Merit - Merit Merit Pass (this is equivalent to 112-80 UCAS tariff points). Applicants without English will be considered on an individual basis.

Typical IB Offer

Pass the International Baccalaureate Diploma with a minimum score of 29 overall including 5 or above in English at standard level

Typical Access to HE Offer

Pass the Access to HE Diploma and obtain a minimum of 80 UCAS tariff points.

Additional Requirements

GCSEs: The University normally requires a minimum 5 GCSEs including Mathematics/Numeracy and English at Grade C or Grade 4 or above, or their equivalent, but consideration is given to individual circumstances. 

International Entry Requirements

We also welcome international applications with equivalent qualifications. Please visit the country specific pages on our international website for exact details.

English Requirements

In general, international applicants will need to have achieved an overall IELTS grade of 6.0 with a minimum score of 5.5 in each component.

However, if you have previously studied through the medium of English IELTS might not be required, but please visit the country specific page on our international website for exact details. If your country is not featured please contact us.

Full-time fees are per year. Part-time fees are per 20 credits. Once enrolled, the fee will remain at the same rate throughout the duration of your study on this course.

Find out how to pay your tuition fees in full or by payment plan.

This course is eligible under the Enhanced Learning Credits scheme for Ex-Armed Forces personnel.

International Scholarships are available for self-funding international students.

August 2021 - July 2022 Fees

  • Full-time UK:  £9000

  • Full-time International:  £13500 

August 2022 - July 2023 Fees

  • Full-time UK: TBC

  • Full-time International: TBC

Additional Costs

Students have access to a wide range of resources including textbooks, publications, and computers in the University’s library and via online resources. In most cases they are more than sufficient to complete a course of study. Where there are additional costs, either obligatory or optional, these are detailed below. Of course students may choose to purchase their own additional personal resources/tools over and above those listed to support their studies at their own expense. All stationery and printing costs are at a student’s own expense.

* Obligatory

Item Cost
DBS £53.20
Where required by placement, the student pays DBS cost. The fee covers the cost of the enhanced check, online admin fees and the post office checks.
Placement expenses £00 - £200
Students are encouraged to undertake a period of work placement. Student's undertaking placement may incur costs associated with travel and expected workplace attire will vary according to the placement.

UK and EU students

Apply via UCAS if you are a UK/EU residing applicant, applying for year one of a full-time undergraduate degree, Foundation Year, Foundation Degree or HND and you have not applied through UCAS before. If you are applying to study part-time, to top up your Foundation Degree or HND, or to transfer to USW from another institution, please apply directly

International students

Apply directly to the University if you live outside the UK/EU. 

Apply now 

Admissions statement

Depending on your chosen path, this English degree you will gain a repertoire of skills in analysis, close reading and the practice of writing. You also will gain an impressive range of key transferable skills, including effective written and oral communication, critical thinking, problem solving, working with others, self-awareness and time management. The fostering and development of such skills as part of the English degree programme means that our graduates are well prepared for the challenge of succeeding in the workplace. Our graduates have an enviable record of establishing careers in editing, publishing, teaching, writing, advertising, public relations, the civil service, local government, arts administration and broadcasting. Many students also progress to postgraduate study at the University.

If you take modules in TESOL (Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages) you’ll also gain the USW Graduate TESOL Certificate. You’ll be highly knowledgeable about how language works and have the skills to teach others how to communicate in English. Millions of people around the world are learning English, so there is a huge demand for qualified English language teachers – great news for people with a TESOL qualification. Many students progress on to a research degree or PhD.

Our Careers and Employability Service

As a USW English student, you will have access to advice from the Careers and Employability Service throughout your studies and after you graduate.

This includes: one-to-one appointments from faculty based Career Advisers, in person, over the phone or even on Skype and through email via the "Ask a Question" service. We also have extensive online resources for help with considering your career options and presenting yourself well to employers. Resources include psychometric tests, career assessments, a CV builder, interview simulator and application help. Our employer database has over 2,000 registered employers targeting USW students, you can receive weekly email alerts for jobs.

Our Careers service has dedicated teams: A central work experience team to help you find relevant placements; an employability development team which includes an employability programme called Grad Edge; and an Enterprise team focused on new business ideas and entrepreneurship.